After going 21-3 and winning the SCISA state championship last season, Cardinal Newman enters the 2009-10 wrestling season with a significant level of inexperience. The Cardinals should continue to be a prime contender for SCISA honors once more with Hammond, but retaining the throne is not a foregone conclusion.
“The season looks to be a bit of a rebuilding year,” said coach Eric Goff.
“We lost 11 seniors last year, but luckily we have some young talent under them that are ready for their shot. It is just going to take some time for the young guys to get some experience before I can make a real judgment as to where we may end up. As always, we are working hard to be in the mix of things come February. SCISA has some good talent this year so I am looking forward to seeing how things will work out.”
Goff starts the season with plenty of candidates – 55 in all.
The veteran cast includes sophomore Cole McCarter (112), freshman Hunter Richardson (119), freshman Conor Egan (125), sophomore Thomas Touma (130), sophomore Joey DeAngelis (171), senior Jack Garrick (215), senior Alex Geurin (135), senior Richard Hodaly (152) and sophomore Billy Solomon (189).
DeAngelis is the Cards lone returning state champion after winning it all at 152 last season as a freshman.
Guerin gets one last shot at winning a state championship after three straight runner-up finishes at 130, 119 and 112.
McCarter and Hoday are two-time state place finishers. McCarter was second at 103 last season, third at the same weight in 2008. Hodaly did not place a year ago, but was second at 135 in 2008 and third at 130 in 2007.
Meanwhile, Richardson was third at 112 a year ago, Touma was third at 119 and Garrick was the runner-up at 215.
Goff said junior Kyle Maitland (152-60), freshman Tanner Vieteri (103) and junior Pennington Neiri (189) are the newcomers to watch.